We started the day at a Meet-Up meditation at the Singapore Botanic Gardens. More accurately, Prescott joined the meditation group while I wandered around and gave my feet brand new blisters (I’m making a collection). I saw the Evolution Garden, which illustrates the evolution of plants from the first mosses through ferns and cycads up to the first flowering plants (scholars are having what must be an interesting debate about whether the first flower was related to the magnolia or the water lily). I also made my second tour through the Fragrant Garden, where I wondered why some of the best-smelling plants — gardenias, jasmine, and white ginger — are all pure white.
It was fascinating to see fifty people all meditating in the gardens for an hour together. Overall, I’m surprised by the sorts of things you stumble on in Singapore as you’re just walking around. Here are some of the other things I’ve found:
- Five dance teams practicing in a MRT (metro) station
- An adult marching band, complete with trombone and sousaphone, rehearsing by a riverbank at 9pm at night
- About twenty dragon boat teams headed to National Day practice (Singapore turns fifty-one years old in two weeks)
- A singer-songwriter performing for people sitting out on chairs (literally) in the street
- A group of Chinese puppeteers performing on the street for no one at all
So there are lots of little pockets of culture in a city that can, at first glance, look somewhat soulless.
Saw fireworks last night (more National Day practice) — they may have been the biggest I’ve ever seen. National Day itself should be spectacular.
So far, we’re still enjoying ourselves here, but we can definitely feel a transition happening as we move from, “wow, we live in this cool place, and it’s like being on vacation,” to “oh, we live in this new place, and there are all sorts of complicated things to figure out.” So we’re adding new frustrations — from the large to the tiny — to what we experienced yesterday. These include:
- Not having a clue where to shop for certain small but important items, like bath mats and a towel rack and a can opener.
- Being informed by one communications provider that our apartment cannot be set up with wifi for another 2-8 weeks. We’ve switched providers, but we still won’t have wifi for the next 7-10 days. So we have to reside at Starbucks (which has wifi for the cost of a cup of cocoa and a cup of chai) for a while every day.
- The cost of groceries. Wow. Why didn’t I ship Dimitri’s olive oil and Zeke’s coffee and our home-dried oregano when I had the chance?
- Not really understanding the busses that will take me to and from school. I was fine when I saw there was a 961 and a 963, but now I’ve discovered there’s also a 961C and a 963R, and I’m confused about routes and stops.
- Rain that comes out of nowhere. Actually, we had a surprising amount of fun being caught in a downpour this morning — while we had no umbrella, we did have a towel — but on the whole, the mud puddles get old.
- Our condo complex’s gym (which is small but serviceable) not having a weight bench of the right height. They’re all too tall, which is going to drive me crazy (and makes no sense, because “tall” isn’t really a concept here. I don’t get it. But the gym is nice — and the view from the gym windows is even better.